On a day the offense struggled, the Ramblers still gave themselves a chance to win Saturday.
Senior quarterback Matthew Schiltz engineered a late-game drive, but he was stopped at the 1-yard line with no time remaining to send Loyola to a 17-12 loss to Mount Carmel at home.
“We didn’t quit,” Loyola head coach John Holecek said.
It was Loyola’s first loss at home since a 27-24 defeat to Glenbard North on Nov. 17, 2012 in the Class 8A state semifinals and first to the Caravan since 2014.
Down 11 points with 4 minutes, 24 seconds left in the fourth quarter, junior running back Tyler Flores scored on a 1-yard run to get the Ramblers within five, 17-12. The big play was Schiltz’s 40-yard pass to senior receiver Rory Boos on the first play to put Loyola at Mount Carmel’s 25.
After the two-point pass failed, the onside kick was recovered by the Caravan at the 2:44 mark of the fourth quarter. But the Ramblers forced a three-and-out and got the ball back with 1:09 to go.
On the first play, Schiltz connected with junior receiver Matty Mangan for an 18-yard gain. He then completed six more passes in a row. Coupled with Mount Carmel penalties, the Ramblers had first-and-goal at the 4 with 3.0 seconds on the clock.
From the shotgun formation, Schiltz took the snap, saw an opening to the left and set off. Multiple Mount Carmel defenders denied him entrance into the end zone.
Loyola (2-1) finished with 342 yards, but 109 of them came on its final two possessions. The Ramblers rushed for 79 yards, averaging 2.7 yards per carry.
Schiltz went 23-for-43 for 263 yards with one TD and four interceptions, although one of them was on fourth down at the end of the first half. Boos caught 13 passes for 182 yards. He had the team’s first TD on a 7-yard reception. Senior cornerback Michael Byrne set up the score by intercepting a pass on the game’s first play from scrimmage.
Both of Mount Carmel’s TDs were the result of turnovers. Loyola’s defense limited the Caravan (2-1) to 194 yards and 3.5 yards per play.
“We knew our offense would have some trouble, and it was going to be a challenge,” Holecek said. “The season is long from over, but this one burns.”
Photo credit: Geoff Scott